Psoriasis can happen to anyone – unfortunately it happened to me. October 29 is World Psoriasis Day, so let’s talk about it! Let’s empower people with Psoriasis, and help those living with psoriasis take charge by learning how to manage their psoriasis and re-gain a sense of control and self-esteem!
What Is Psoriasis?
While it’s not contagious or caused by a lack of hygiene like some may think, it is actually just a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the regeneration of skin cells. Basically, my skin regenerates new skin every 3 to 4 days instead of 30 like the rest of the population
This over generation of skin then builds up and creates what we call ‘plaques’ – thick, silvery, scaly looking dry patches of skin that can itch and can become painful sores. Fun!
Did I mention that there is no cure for Psoriasis? Double Fun!
How Do You Treat Psoriasis?
While it’s true, there is no cure, however Psoriasis can be managed. Not every treatment will work for everyone so it may take you some time to figure what treatment is best for you. Just be patient, and talk to your health care provider often.
The option I found that worked for me are corticosteroids. These are a primary treatment that works against psoriasis in two ways — by reducing inflammation and by lowering the activity of the immune system. Corticosteroids can be taken orally, applied topically, and can also be injected.
I have had many successful cortisone shots, and while it can be a bit painful as you can imagine, the payoff is sooooo worth it! The shots are injected directly into a psoriasis patch and within a couple weeks, the patch will disappear and remain gone for months!
Cortisone creams, ointments, gels etc. are pretty standard for anyone with Psoriasis. You typically will use your cream along with most other treatments or on its own if you aren’t needing any other treatment. Today there are injectables and oral treatments that work from the inside out to treat the condition before flare ups even start.
I have also tried UV therapy which really does help, but with kids, a household to run and a full time job it isn’t all that practical as I had to go 3 times a week for months so it’s a hard schedule to attain but it is definitely worth it if you have the time and devotion.
Natural sun is also one of the best things out there for psoriasis! Funny since we are trained that the sun is so bad for our skin yet it works wonders to calm the effects of psoriasis – a skin condition. Of course, too much sun is never good and I have actually burnt my psoriasis patches before and it was horrible! It was as if the skin in those areas was literally non-existent like an open wound. Ouch! I will never make that mistake again! 5 mins a day is plenty to reap the Vit D benefits of the sun to help diminish any flare ups.
There are many other treatment options available, and I strongly encourage you to talk to your doctor and/or dermatologist because psoriasis IS manageable, it just takes time.
My Favorite Psoriasis-Safe Products
I also wanted to share how I manage my psoriasis when I am not treating it medically, because I have found some over the counter products to be very helpful.
Being a product junkie, I have certainly tried my fair share of lotions, creams, oils and many other concoctions to help soothe and minimize my psoriasis. While it took years to create a solid body care routine, with products that I trust, I am pretty dedicated to what I use today.
I exfoliate with exfoliating gloves. It helps to get rid of some of the dead skin and will allow your treatment products to better absorb.
Don’t use soap as it is just far too drying. Always use a moisturizing body wash when you can.
Oils – Many use essential oils to help manage psoriasis and I’ve hopped on that bandwagon time and time again but honestly, I didn’t notice a single difference. I literally have purchased and tried every essential oil that even remotely claims to help. However it did allow me to figure out that I really enjoy using a carrier oil as it helps keep my skin hydrated longer than using creams alone. My go-to is Jojoba oil. It is less expensive than some other oils, it doesn’t irritate my skin and it moisturizes like a dream!
Moisturizing is an essential step in a healthy skincare routine to help keep the skin supple and hydrated. Just remember to use products without alcohol or scents as they can be a serious culprit for irritation. Look for products that cater to sensitive skin, and for me, the thicker the better!
I like to apply jojoba oil first and allow it to soak in for 15mins before applying a moisturizing Cream. This combination of oil and cream REALLY keeps my skin from drying out.
Coal Tar is also an amazing ingredient that really helps calm and flatten out plaques. I use a coal tar topical just as I would with my prescribed ointment but with the benefits that it can be purchased over the counter at your local drugstore. And for me it almost works just as good!
The Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients has a full list of all treatment options as well as alternative treatment options, so I strongly recommend you check it out, arm yourself with some excellent knowledge and talk to your doctor to find out what works best for you.